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THE 

TRAINING OF THE 
HUMAN PLANT 



THE 

TRAINING OF THE 
HUMAN PLANT 

BY 

LUTHER BURBANK 




NEW YORK 

THE CENTURY CO. 

1907 



Copyright, 1906, 1907, by 
THE CENTUBY Co. 



Published April, 1907 



THE DE VINNE PRESS 



//XT DiV 

IS 



DEDICATED 

TO THE 

SIXTEEN MILLION 

PUBLIC SCHOOL CHILDREN OF AMERICA 
AND TO THE 

UNTOLD MILLIONS 
UNDER OTHER SKIES 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

i THE MINGLING OF RACES .... 3 
n THE TEACHINGS OF NATURE . . .11 
m DIFFERENTIATION IN TRAINING . .19 

iv SUNSHINE, GOOD AIR AND NOURISH- 
ING FOOD 30 

v DANGERS 45 

vi MARRIAGE OF THE PHYSIC ALLY. UNFIT 58 

ii HEREDITY PREDESTINATION 

TRAINING 67 

vm GROWTH 76 

EX ENVIRONMENT THE ARCHITECT OF 

HEREDITY . . 81 

x CHARACTER 87 

xi FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES . . 93 



THE TRAINING OF THE 
HUMAN PLANT 



THE TRAINING OF THE 
HUMAN PLANT 



THE MINGLING OF RACES 

DURING the course of many years of 
investigation into the plant life 
of the world, creating new forms, modi- 
fying old ones, adapting others to new 
conditions, and blending still others, I 
have constantly been impressed with 
the similarity between the organization 
and development of plant and human 
life. While I have never lost sight of 
the principle of the survival of the fit- 
test and all that it implies as an expla- 
8 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

nation of the development and progress 
of plant life, I have come to find in the 
crossing of species and in selection, 
wisely directed, a great and powerful 
instrument for the transformation of 
the vegetable kingdom along lines that 
lead constantly upward. The crossing 
of species is to me paramount. Upon 
it, wisely directed and accompanied by 
a rigid selection of the best and as rigid 
an exclusion of the poorest, rests the 
hope of all progress. The mere cross- 
ing of species, unaccompanied by selec- 
tion, wise supervision, intelligent care, 
and the utmost patience, is not likely to 
result in marked good, and may result 
in vast harm. Unorganized effort is 
often most vicious in its tendencies. 

Before passing to the consideration 
of the adaptation of the principles of 
4 



THE MINGLING OF RACES 

plant culture and improvement in a 
more or less modified form to the hu- 
man being, let me lay emphasis on the 
opportunity now presented in the 
United States for observing and, if we 
are wise, aiding in what I think it fair 
to say is the grandest opportunity ever 
presented of developing the finest race 
the world has ever known out of the 
vast mingling of races brought here by 
immigration. 

By statistical abstract on immigra- 
tion, prepared by the Bureau of Statis- 
tics of the Department of Commerce 
and Labor in Washington, I find, that, 
in the year 1904, 752,864 immigrants 
came into the United States, assigned 
to more than fifty distinct nationalities. 
It will be worth while to look carefully 
at this list. It shows how widely sepa- 
5 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

rated geographically, as well as ethno- 
logically, is the material from which we 
are drawing in this colossal example of 
the crossing of species: 

Austria-Hungary, includ- 
ing Bohemia, Hungary, 
and other Austria save 

Poland 117,156 

Belgium 3,976 

Denmark ...... 8,525 

France ...... 9,406 

Germany 46,380 

Greece . * -' 11,343 

Italy . 193,296 

Netherlands 4,916 

Norway 23,808 

Poland . . ". . . . . 6,715 

Rumania ... . . . 7,087 

Russia 145,141 

Spain 3,996 

Sweden 27,763 

Switzerland 5,023 

Carried forward . . 614,531 



THE MINGLING OF RACES 

Brought forward . . 614,531 
* Turkey in Europe . . 5,669 

England 38,620 

Ireland 36,142 

Scotland . . . .V 11,092 

Wales 1,730 

Europe not specified . . 143 

Total Europe . ~ ~ 707,927 

British North America . 2,837 

Mexico 1,009 

Central America ... 714 

West Indies and Miguelon 10,193 
South America .... 1,667 



Total America . . . 16,420 

China 4,309 

Japan 14,264 

Other Asia 7,613 

Total Asia . . . 26,186 

Total Oceania . . 1,555 

Total Africa . . ; 686 

All other countries 90 



Total Immigrants . 752,864 

Includes Servia, Bulgaria, and Montenegro. 

7 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

Study this list from any point of 
view. Where has there been found a 
broader opportunity for the working 
out of these underlying principles? 
Some of these immigrants will mate 
with others of their own class, notably 
the Jews, thus not markedly changing 
the current ; many will unite with others 
of allied speech; still others marry into 
races wholly different from their own, 
while a far smaller number will perhaps 
find union with what we may call native 
stock. 

But wait until two decades have 
passed, until there are children of age 
to wed, and then see, under the changed 
conditions, how widespread will be the 
mingling. So from the first the for- 
eign nations have been pouring into this 
country and taking their part in this 
vast blending. 

8 



THE MINGLING OF RACES 

Now, just as the plant breeder al- 
ways notices sudden changes and 
breaks, as well as many minor modifi- 
cations, when he joins two or more 
plants of diverse type from widely sep- 
arated quarters of the globe, some- 
times merging an absolutely wild strain 
with one that, long over-civilized, has 
largely lost virility, and just as he 
finds among the descendants a plant 
which is likely to be stronger and better 
than either ancestor, so may we notice 
constant changes and breaks and modi- 
fications going on about us in this vast 
combination of races, and so may we 
hope for a far stronger and better race 
if right principles are followed, a mag- 
nificent race, far superior to any pre- 
ceding it. Look at the material on 
which to draw! Here is the North, 
powerful, virile, aggressive, blended 
9 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

with the luxurious, ease-loving, more 
impetuous South. Again you have the 
merging of a cold phlegmatic tempera- 
ment with one mercurial and volatile. 
Still again the union of great native 
mental strength, developed or undevel- 
oped, with bodily vigor, but with infer- 
ior mind. See, too, what a vast num- 
ber of environmental influences have 
been at work in social relations, in cli- 
mate, in physical surroundings. Along 
with this we must observe the merging 
of the vicious with the good, the good 
with the good, the vicious with the 
vicious. 



10 



II 

THE TEACHINGS OF NATURE 

T ir TE are more crossed than any 
V V other nation in the history of 
the world, and here we meet the same 
results that are always seen in a much- 
crossed race of plants: all the worst as 
well as all the best qualities of each are 
brought out in their fullest intensities. 
Right here is where selective environ- 
ment counts. When all the necessary 
crossing has been done, then comes the 
work of elimination, the work of refin- 
ing, until we shall get an ultimate prod- 
uct that should be the finest race ever 
known. The best characteristics of the 
11 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

many peoples that make up this nation 
will show in the composite: the finished 
product will be the race of the future. 

In my work with plants and flowers I 
introduce color here, shape there, size or 
perfume, according to the product de- 
sired. In such processes the teachings 
of nature are followed. Its great forces 
only are employed. All that has been 
done for plants and flowers by crossing, 
nature has already accomplished for the 
American people. By the crossings of 
types, strength has in one instance been 
secured; in another, intellectuality; in 
still another, moral force. Nature 
alone has done this. The work of 
man's head and hands has not yet been 
summoned to prescribe for the develop- 
ment of a race. So far a preconceived 
and mapped-out crossing of bloods 
12 



THE TEACHINGS OF NATURE 

finds no place in the making of peoples 
and nations. But when nature has al- 
ready done its duty, and the crossing 
leaves a product which in the rough dis- 
plays the best human attributes, all that 
is left to be done falls to selective en- 
vironment. 

But when two different plants have 
been crossed, that is only the beginning. 
It is only one step, however important ; 
the great work lies beyond the care, 
the nurture, the influence of surround- 
ings, selection, the separation of the best 
from the poorest, all of which are em- 
braced in the words I have used selec- 
tive environment. 

How, then, shall the principles of 
plant culture have any bearing upon the 
development of the descendants of this 
mighty mingling of races? 
18 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

All animal life is sensitive to environ- 
ment, but of all living things the child is 
the most sensitive. Surroundings act 
upon it as the outside world acts upon 
the plate of the camera. Every possi- 
ble influence will leave its impress upon 
the child, and the traits which it in- 
herited will be overcome to a certain 
extent, in many cases being even more 
apparent than heredity. The child is 
like a cut diamond, its many facets re- 
ceiving sharp, clear impressions not pos- 
sible to a pebble, with this difference, 
however, that the change wrought in the 
child from the influences without be- 
comes constitutional and ingrained. A 
child absorbs environment. It is the 
most susceptible thing in the world to 
influence, and if that force be applied 
rightly and constantly when the child is 
14 



THE TEACHINGS OF NATURE 

in its most receptive condition, the effect 
will be pronounced, immediate, and 
permanent. 

Where shall we begin? Just where 
we begin with the plant, at the very be- 
ginning. It has been said that the way 
to reform a man is to begin with his 
grandfather. But this is only a half- 
truth; begin with his grandfather, but 
begin with the grandfather when he is a 
child. I find the following quoted 
from the great kindergartner Froebel: 

"The task of education is to assist natural 
development toward its destined end. 

"As the beginning gives a bias to the whole 
after development, so the early beginnings of 
education are of most importance." 

While recognizing the good that has 
been accomplished in the early kinder- 

15 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

garten training of children, I must en- 
ter a most earnest protest against 
beginning education, as we commonly 
use the word, at the kindergarten age. 
No boy or girl should see the inside of a 
school-house until at least ten years old. 
I am speaking now of the boy or girl 
who can be reared in the only place that 
is truly fit to bring up a boy or a plant 
the country, the small town or the 
country, the nearer to nature the better. 
In the case of children born in the city 
and compelled to live there, the tempta- 
tions are so great, the life so artificial, 
the atmosphere so like that of the hot- 
house, that the child must be placed in 
school earlier as a matter of safeguard- 
ing. 

But, some one asks, How can you ever 
expect a boy to graduate from college 
16 



THE TEACHINGS OF NATURE 

or university if his education does not 
begin until he is ten years of age? He 
will be far too old. 

First I answer that the curse of mod- 
ern child-life in America is over-educa- 
tion. For the first ten years of this, the 
most sensitive and delicate, the most pli- 
able life in the world, I would prepare 
it. The properly prepared child will 
make such progress that the difference 
in time of graduation is not likely to be 
noticeable ; but, even if it should be a year 
or two later, what real difference would 
it make? Do we expect a normal plant 
to begin bearing fruit a few weeks after 
it is born? It must have time, ample 
time, to be prepared for the work before 
it. Above all else, the child must be a 
healthy animal. I do not work with 
diseased plants. They do not cure 
2 17 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

themselves of disease. They only spread 
disease among their fellows and die be- 
fore their time. 



18 



Ill 

DIFFERENTIATION IN TRAINING 

I WISH to lay special stress upon the 
absurdity, not to call it by a harsher 
term, of running children through the 
same mill in a lot, with absolutely no 
real reference to their individuality. No 
two children are alike. You cannot 
expect them to develop alike. They 
are different in temperament, in tastes, 
in disposition, in capabilities, and yet 
we take them in this precious early age, 
when they ought to be living a life of 
preparation near to the heart of nature, 
and we stuff them, cram them, and 
overwork them until their poor little 

19 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

brains are crowded up to and beyond 
the danger-line. The work of breaking 
down the nervous systems of the chil- 
dren of the United States is now well 
under way. It is only when some one 
breaks absolutely away from all prece- 
dent and rule and carves out a new place 
in the world that any substantial prog- 
ress is ever made, and seldom is this 
done by one whose individuality has 
been stifled in the schools. So it is im- 
perative that we consider individuality 
in children in their training precisely as 
we do in cultivating plants. Some chil- 
dren, for example, are absolutely unfit 
by nature and temperament for carry- 
ing on certain studies. Take certain 
young girls, for example, bright in 
many ways, but unfitted by nature and 
bent, at this early age at least, for the 
20 



DIFFERENTIATION IN TRAINING 

study of arithmetic. Very early, be- 
fore the age of ten, in fact, they are 
packed into a room along with from 
thirty to fifty others and compelled to 
study a branch which, at best, they should 
not undertake until they have reached 
maturer years. Can one by any possible 
cultivation and selection and crossing 
compel figs to grow on thistles or apples 
on a banana-tree? I have made many 
varied and strange plant combinations 
in the hope of betterment and still am at 
work upon others, but one cannot hope 
to do the impossible. 

THE FIRST TEN YEARS 

NOT only would I have the child reared 

for the first ten years of its life in the 

open, in close touch with nature, a bare- 

21 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

foot boy with all that implies for physi- 
cal stamina, but should have him reared 
in love. But you say, How can you 
expect all children to be reared in love? 
By working with vast patience upon the 
great body of the people, this great 
mingling of races, to teach such of them 
as do not love their children to love 
them, to surround them with all the in- 
fluences of love. This will not be uni- 
versally accomplished to-day or to-mor- 
row, and it may need centuries; but if 
we are ever to advance and to have this 
higher race, now is the time to begin the 
work, this very day. It is the part of 
every human being who comprehends 
the importance of this to bend all his 
energies toward the same end. Love 
must be at the basis of all our work for 
the race; not gush, not mere sentimen- 

22 



DIFFERENTIATION IN TRAINING 

tality, but abiding love, that which out- 
lasts death. A man who hates plants, 
or is neglectful of them, or who has 
other interests beyond them, could no 
more be a successful plant-cultivator 
than he could turn back the tides of the 
ocean with his finger-tips. The thing 
is utterly impossible. You can never 
bring up a child to its best estate with- 
out love. 



BE HONEST WITH THE CHILD 

THEN,, again, in the successful cultiva- 
tion of plants there must be absolute 
honesty. I mean this in no fanciful 
way, but in the most practical and mat- 
ter-of-fact fashion. You cannot at- 
tempt to deceive nature or thwart her or 
be dishonest with her in any particular 

23 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

without her knowing it, without the 
consequences coming back upon your 
own head. Be honest with your child. 
Do not give him a colt for his very own, 
and then, when it is a three-year-old, sell 
it and pocket the proceeds. It does not 
provoke a tendency in children to fol- 
low the Golden Rule, and seldom en- 
hances their admiration and respect for 
you. It is not sound business policy or 
fair treatment; it is not honest. Bear 
in mind that this child-life in these first 
ten years is the most sensitive thing in 
the world; never lose sight of that. 
Children respond to ten thousand subtle 
influences which would leave no more 
impression upon a plant than they 
would upon the sphinx. Vastly more 
sensitive is it than the most sensitive 
plant. Think of being dishonest with it ! 

24 



DIFFERENTIATION IN TRAINING 

Here let me say that the wave of 
public dishonesty which seems to be 
sweeping up over this country is chiefly 
due to a lack of proper training breed- 
ing, if you will in the formative years 
of life. Be dishonest with a child, 
whether it is your child or some other 
person's child dishonest in word or 
look or deed, and you have started a 
grafter. Grafting, or stealing, for 
that is the better word, will never be 
taken up by a man whose formative 
years have been spent in an atmosphere 
of absolute honesty. Nor can you be 
dishonest with your child in thought. 
The child reads your motives as no other 
human being reads them. He sees into 
your own heart. The child is the 
purest, truest thing in the world. It is 
absolute truth : that 's why we love chil- 
25 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

dren. They know instinctively whether 
you are true or dishonest with them in 
thought as well as in deed; you cannot 
escape it. The child may not always 
show its knowledge, but its judgment 
of you is unerring. Its life is stainless, 
open to receive all impressions, just as 
is the life of the plant, only far more pli- 
ant and responsive to influences, and 
to influences to which no plant is capa- 
ble of being responsive. Upon the child 
before the age of ten we have an unpar- 
alleled opportunity to work; for no- 
where else is there material so plastic. 

TRAITS IN PLANTS AND BOYS 

TEACH the child self-respect ; train it in 

self-respect, just as you train a plant 

into better ways. No self-respecting 

26 



DIFFERENTIATION IN TRAINING 

man was ever a grafter. Make the boy 
understand what money means, too, 
what its value and importance. Do not 
deal it out to him lavishly, but teach 
him to account for it. Instil better 
things into him, just as a plant-breeder 
puts better characteristics into a plant. 
Above all, bear in mind repetition, repe- 
tition, the use of an influence over and 
over again. Keeping everlastingly at 
it, this is what fixes traits in plants the 
constant repetition of an influence until 
at last it is irrevocably fixed and will not 
change. You cannot afford to get dis- 
couraged. You are dealing with some- 
thing far more precious than any plant 
the priceless soul of a child. 



27 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 



KEEP OUT FEAR 

AND, again, keep fear out that the child 
may grow up to the end of the first ten- 
year period and not learn what physical 
fear is. Let him alone for that, if he is 
a healthy normal child; he will find it 
and profit by it. But keep out all fear 
of the brutal things men have taught 
children about the future. I believe 
emphatically in religion. God made 
religion, and man made theology, just 
as God made the country, and man 
made the town. I have the largest 
sympathy for religion, and the largest 
contempt I am capable of for a mislead- 
ing theology. Do not feed children on 
maudlin sentimentalism or dogmatic 
religion; give them nature. Let their 

28 



DIFFERENTIATION IN TRAINING 

souls drink in all that is pure and sweet. 
Rear them, if possible, amid pleasant 
surroundings. If they come into the 
world with souls groping in darkness, 
let them see and feel the light. Do not 
terrify them in early life with the fear 
of an after-world. Never was a child 
made more noble and good by the fear 
of a hell. Let nature teach them the 
lessons of good and proper living, com- 
bined with an abundance of well-bal- 
anced nourishment. Those children 
will grow to be the best men and 
women. Put the best in them by con- 
tact with the best outside. They will 
absorb it as a plant absorbs the sunshine 
and the dew. 



IV 

SUNSHINE, GOOD AIR AND 
NOURISHING FOOD 

WE cannot carry a great plant- 
breeding test to a successful 
culmination at the end of a long period 
of years without three things, among 
many others, that are absolutely essen- 
tialsunshine, good air, and nourish- 
ing food. 

SUNSHINE 

TAKE the first, both in its literal and 

figurative sense sunshine. Surround 

the children with every possible cheer. 

so 



SUNSHINE 

I do not mean to pamper them, to make 
them weak; they need the winds, just as 
the plants do, to strengthen them and 
to make them self-reliant. If you want 
your child to grow up into a sane, nor- 
mal man, a good citizen, a support of 
the state you must keep him in the sun- 
shine. Keep him happy. You can- 
not do this if you have a sour face your- 
self. Smiles and laughter cost nothing. 
Costly clothing, too fine to stand the 
wear and tear of a tramp in the woods 
or sliding down a haystack or a cellar 
door, are a dead weight upon your child. 
I believe in good clothes, good strong 
serviceable clothes for young chil- 
dren clothes that fit and look well; for 
they tend to mental strength, to self- 
respect. But there are thousands of 
parents who, not having studied the tre- 
31 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

mendous problems of environmental 
surroundings, and having no concep- 
tion of the influence of these surround- 
ings, fail to recognize the fact that 
either an over-dressed or a poorly 
dressed child is handicapped. 

Do not be cross with the child; you 
cannot afford it. If you are cultivat- 
ing a plant, developing it into some- 
thing finer and nobler, you must love it, 
not hate it; be gentle with it, not abu- 
sive; be firm, never harsh. I give the 
plants upon which I am at work in a 
test, whether a single one or a hundred 
thousand, the best possible environ- 
ment. So should it be with a child, if 
you want to develop it in right ways. 
Let the children have music, let them 
have pictures, let them have laughter, 
let them have a good time; not an idle 

82 



SUNSHINE 

time, but one full of cheerful occupa- 
tion. Surround them with all the beau- 
tiful things you can. Plants should be 
given sun and air and the blue sky ; give 
them to your boys and girls. I do not 
mean for a day or a month, but for all 
the years. We cannot treat a plant 
tenderly one day and harshly the next; 
they cannot stand it. Remember that 
you are training not only for to-day, 
but for all the future, for all posterity. 

FRESH AIK 

To develop indoors, under glass, a race 
of men and women of the type that I 
believe is coming out of all this marvel- 
ous mingling of races in the United 
States is immeasurably absurd. There 
must be sunlight, but even more is 

33 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

needed, fresh, pure air. The injury 
wrought to-day to the race by keeping 
too young children indoors at school is 
beyond the power of any one to esti- 
mate. The air they breathe even under 
the best sanitary regulations is far too 
impure for their lungs. Often it is pos- 
itively poisonous a slow poison which 
never makes itself fully manifest until 
the child is a wreck. Keep the child 
outdoors and away from books and 
study. Much you can teach him, much 
he will teach himself all gently, without 
knowing it, of nature and nature's God, 
just as the child is taught to walk or run 
or play; but education in the academic 
sense shun as you would the plague. 
And the atmosphere must be pure 
around it in the other sense. It must 
be free from every kind of indelicacy 

34 



FRESH AIR 

or coarseness. The most dangerous 
man in the community is the one who 
would pollute the stream of a child's 
life. Whoever was responsible for the 
saying that "boys will be boys" and a 
young man "must sow his wild oats" 
was perhaps guilty of a crime. 

NOURISHING FOOD 

IT is impossible to apply successfully 
the principles of cultivation and selec- 
tion of plants to human life if the hu- 
man life does not, like the plant life, 
have proper nourishment. First of all, 
the child's digestion must be made 
sound by sufficient, simple, well-bal- 
anced food. But, you say, any one 
should know this. True, and most peo- 
ple do realize it in a certain sense; but 

35 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

how many realize that upon the food the 
child is fed in these first ten years 
largely depends its moral future? I 
once lived near a class of people who, 
from religious belief, excluded all meat, 
eggs, and milk from the dietary of their 
children. They fed them vegetables 
and the product of cereals. What re- 
sult followed? The children were ane- 
mic, unable to withstand disease, 
quickly succumbed to illness. There 
were no signs of vigor; they were al- 
ways low in vitality. But that was not 
all. They were frightfully depraved. 
They were not properly fed; their ra- 
tion was unbalanced. 1 Nature re- 

1 The request has often come to me to state what I 
thought a "well-balanced" food especially for chil- 
dren. We all need food which supplies the elements of 
growth and repair and all, both old and young, must also 
have foods which yield warmth and energy. Nearly all 
foods contain both these elements though in greatly 
36 



NOURISHING FOOD 

belled ; for she had not sufficient mater- 
ial to perfect her higher development. 

What we want in developing a new 
plant, making it better in all ways than 
any of its kind that have preceded it, is 

varying proportions and usually far from the right ones 
for growth and health unless a variety of foods are eaten 
at each meal. Growing children need a greater propor- 
tion of body-building foods, such as lean meats, fish, 
milk, some vegetables and fruits. They are often fed 
too great a proportion of sweet and starchy foods. A 
certain proportion of these are absolutely necessary but 
we all know the "starch babies" by their pale, fat, 
flabby, characterless faces, lusterless eyes and general 
lack of vitality. Less starchy foods and more fresh 
meats with eggs, milk, some vegetables and fruits will 
give more vitality, a better growth, greater intelligence, 
better health and a better constitution, notwithstanding 
the belief of some of my vegetarian friends to the con- 
trary. 

Children mostly fed on sweet and farinaceous foods 
are also starved for the various salts and mineral ele- 
ments. These must all be supplied especially ,to children 
else they will certainly become victims of an unbal- 
anced, unnatural, premature development and a short- 
ening of life simply from starvation. Life, the builder, 
must have the necessary materials or the structure must 
be imperfect and incomplete. 

L. B. 

37 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

a splendid norm, not anything abnor- 
mal. So we feed it from the soil, and 
it feeds from the air by the aid of sun- 
light and thus we make it a powerful 
aid to man. It is dependent upon good 
food. Upon good food for the child, 
well-balanced food, depends good di- 
gestion ; upon good digestion, with pure 
air to keep the blood pure, depends the 
nervous system. If you have the first 
ten years of a boy's or a girl's life in 
which to make them strong and sturdy 
with normal nerves, splendid digestion, 
and unimpaired lungs, you have a 
healthy animal, ready for the heavier 
burdens of study. Preserve beyond all 
else as the priceless portion of a child 
the integrity of the nervous system. 
Upon this depends their success in life. 
With the nervous system shattered, 

38 



THE NERVOUS SYSTEM 

what is life worth? Suppose you begin 
the education, so-called, of your child 
at, say, three or four, if he be unusually 
bright , in the kindergarten. Keep 
adding slowly and systematically, with 
what I think the devil must enjoy as a 
refined means of torment, to the bur- 
den day by day. Keep on "educating" 
him until he enters the primary school 
at five, and push him to the uttermost 
until he is ten. You have now laid 
broad and deep the foundation; out- 
raged nature may be left to take care 
of the rest. 

The integrity of your child's nervous 
system, no matter what any so-called 
educator may say, is thus impaired; he 
can never again be what he would have 
been had you taken him as the plant- 
cultivator takes a plant, and for these 
39 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

first ten precious years of his life had 
fitted him for the future. Nothing else 
is doing so much to break down the ner- 
vous systems of Americans, not even 
the insane rushing of maturer years, as 
this over-crowding and cramming of 
child-life before the age of ten. And 
the mad haste of maturer years is the 
legitimate result of the earlier strain. 



NEITHER PLANT NOR CHILD TO BE 
OVERFED 

NOR should the child, any more than the 
plant, be overfed, but more especially 
should not be given an unbalanced ra- 
tion. What happens when we overfeed 
a plant, especially an unbalanced ration? 
Its root system, its leaf system, its 
trunk, its whole body, is impaired. It 

40 



OVERFEEDING 

becomes engorged. Following this, 
comes devitalization. It is open to at- 
tacks of disease. It will easily be as- 
sailed by fungous diseases and insect 
pests. It rapidly and abnormally 
grows onward to its death. So with a 
child you can easily over-feed it on an 
unbalanced ration, and the result will be 
as disastrous as in the case of the plant. 
The effect of such an unbalanced ration 
as that fed to the children in the com- 
munity I have referred to was to 
shorten life; they developed prema- 
turely, and died early. 

Again some one says, But how can 
the very poor feed their children plenty 
of nutritious food? 

I answer that the nation must pro- 
tect itself. I mean by this that it is im- 
perative, in order that the nation may 

41 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

rise to its full powers and accomplish its 
destiny, that the people who comprise 
this nation must be normal physically. 
It is imperative, in order that the nation 
be normal, that the plants of the nation 
from which it derives its life and with- 
out which the nation dies must be sound. 
All human life is absolutely dependent 
upon plant life. If the plant life be in 
any measure lowered through lack of 
nourishment, with the inevitable lack of 
ability to produce the best results, the 
nation suffers. To the extent that any 
portion of the people are physically 
mentally or morally unfit, to that ex- 
tent the nation is weakened. 

Do not misunderstand me: I am not 
advocating paternalism in any sense; 
far from it. But is not the human race 
worth as much care as the orchards, the 

42 



PROPER NOURISHMENT 

farms, the cattle-ranges? I would so 
work upon this great blending of races, 
upon each individual factor in it, that 
each factor should be called upon to do 
its very best, be compelled to do its very 
best, if it was shirking responsibility. 
But in any great nation there must be a 
large number who cannot do their best, 
if I may use a contradictory term, who 
do not seem able to rise to their oppor- 
tunities and their possibilities. Already 
you may see in our larger cities efforts 
in a small way to help feed the very 
poor. It can be done nationally as well 
as municipally, and it can be done so 
that no loss of self-respect will follow, 
no encouragement and fostering of pov- 
erty or laziness. 

Then, too, there are the orphans and 
the waifs; these must be taken into ac- 

43 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

count. They must have wise, sane, 
consistent state aid. I am opposed to 
all sectarian aid. I would do away with 
all asylums of all types for the indigent 
under sectarian or private control. The 
nation, or the commonwealth, should 
take care of the unfortunate. It must 
do this in a broad and liberal and sane 
manner, if we are ever to accomplish the 
end sought, to make this nation rise to 
its possibilities. Only through the na- 
tion, or State, can this work be done. 
It must be done for self -protection. 



DANGERS 

IN the immediate future, possibly 
within your life and mine, unques- 
tionably within the life of this genera- 
tion, what have we most to fear in 
America from this vast crossing of 
races? Not in the vicious adults who 
are now with us, for they can be con- 
trolled by law and force, but in the chil- 
dren of these adults, when they have 
grown and been trained to responsible 
age in vice and crime, lies the danger. 
We must begin now, to-day, the work 
of training these children as they come. 
Grant that it were possible that every 

45 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

boy and girl born in the United States 
during the next thirty years should be 
kept in an atmosphere of crime to the 
age of ten. The result would be too 
appalling to contemplate. As they 
came to adult years, vice would be ram- 
pant, crime would go unpunished, all 
evil would thrive, the nation would be 
destroyed. Now, to the extent that we 
leave the children of the poor and these 
other unfortunates, waifs and found- 
lings, to themselves and their evil sur- 
roundings, to that extent we breed peril 
for ourselves. 

The only way to obviate this is abso- 
lutely to cut loose from all precedent 
and begin systematic State and Na- 
tional aid, not next year, or a decade 
from now, but to-day. Begin training 
these outcasts, begin the cultivation of 
46 



DANGERS 

them, if you will, much as we cultivate 
the plants, in order that their lives may 
be turned into right ways, in order that 
the integrity of the state may be main- 
tained. Rightly cultivated, these chil- 
dren may be made a blessing to the 
race ; trained in the wrong way, or neg- 
lected entirely, they will become a curse 
to the state. 

ENVIRONMENT 

LET us bring the application still nearer 
home. 

There is not a single desirable attri- 
bute which, lacking in a plant, may not 
be bred into it. Choose what improve- 
ment you wish in a flower, a fruit, or a 
tree, and by crossing, selection, cultiva- 
tion, and persistence you can fix this de- 
47 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

sirable trait irrevocably. Pick out any 
trait you want in your child, granted 
that he is a normal child, I shall speak 
of the abnormal later, be it honesty, 
fairness, purity, lovableness, industry, 
thrift, what not. By surrounding this 
child with sunshine from the sky and 
your own heart, by giving the closest 
communion with nature, by feeding 
this child well-balanced, nutritious 
food, by giving it all that is implied in 
healthful environmental influences, and 
by doing all in love, you can thus culti- 
vate in the child and fix there for all its 
life all of these traits. Naturally not al- 
ways to the full in all cases at the begin- 
ning of the work, for heredity will make 
itself felt first, and, as in the plant un- 
der improvement, there will be certain 
strong tendencies to reversion to former 

48 



DANGERS 

ancestral traits; but, in the main, with 
the normal child, you can give him all 
these traits by patiently, persistently, 
guiding him in these early formative 
years. 

And, on the other side, give him foul 
air to breathe, keep him in a dusty fac- 
tory or an unwholesome school-room or 
a crowded tenement up under the hot 
roof ; keep him away from the sunshine, 
take away from him music and laughter 
and happy faces; cram his little brains 
with so-called knowledge, all the more 
deceptive and dangerous because made 
so apparently adaptable to his young 
mind ; let him have vicious associates in 
his hours out of school, and at the age 
of ten you have fixed in him the oppo- 
site traits. He is on his way to the gal- 
lows. You have perhaps seen a prairie 
49 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

fire sweep through the tall grass across 
a plain. Nothing can stand before it, 
it must burn itself out. That is what 
happens when you let the weeds grow 
up in a child's life, and then set fire to 
them by wrong environment. 

THE ABNORMAL 

BUT, some one asks, What will you do 
with those who are abnormal? First, I 
must repeat that the end will not be 
reached at a bound. It will take years, 
centuries, perhaps, to erect on this great 
foundation we now have in America the 
structure which I believe is to be built. 
So we must begin to-day in our own 
commonwealth, in our own city or town, 
in our own family, with ourselves. 
Here appears a child plainly not nor- 

50 



DANGERS 

mal, what shall we do with him? Shall 
we, as some have advocated, even from 
Spartan days, hold that the weaklings 
should be destroyed? No. In culti- 
vating plant life, while we destroy much 
that is unfit, we are constantly on the 
lookout for what has been called the ab- 
normal, that which springs apart in new 
lines. How many plants are there in 
the world to-day that were not in one 
sense once abnormalities? No; it is the 
influence of cultivation, of selection, of 
surroundings, of environment, that 
makes the change from the abnormal 
to the normal. From the children we 
are led to call abnormal may come, un- 
der wise cultivation and training, splen- 
did normal natures. A great force is 
sometimes needed to change the aspect 
of minerals and metals. Powerful 
01 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

acids, great heat, electricity, mechani- 
cal force, or some such influence, must 
be brought to bear upon them. Less 
potent influences will work a complete 
change in plant-life. Mild heat, sun- 
shine, the atmosphere, and greatly di- 
luted chemicals, will all directly affect 
the growth of the plant and the produc- 
tion of fruits and flowers. And when 
we come to animal life, especially in 
man, we find that the force or influence 
necessary to affect a transformation is 
extremely slight. This is why environ- 
ment plays such an important part in 
the development of man. 

In child-rearing, environment is 
equally essential with heredity. Mind 
you, I do not say that heredity is of no 
consequence. It is the great factor, 
and often makes environment almost 

52 



DANGERS 

powerless. When certain hereditary ten- 
dencies are almost indelibly ingrained, 
environment will have a hard battle to 
effect a change in the child; but that a 
change can be wrought by the sur- 
roundings we all know. The particu- 
lar subject may at first be stubborn 
against these influences, but repeated 
application of the same modifying 
forces in succeeding generations will at 
last accomplish the desired object in the 
child as it does in the plant. 

No one shall say what great results 
for the good of the race may not be at- 
tained in the cultivation of abnormal 
children, transforming them into nor- 
mal ones. 



58 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 



THE PHYSICALLY WEAK 

So also of the physically weak. I have 
a plant in which I see wonderful possi- 
bilities, but it is weak. Simply because 
it is weak do I become discouraged and 
say it can never be made strong, that it 
would better be destroyed? Not at all; 
it may possess other qualities of superla- 
tive value. Even if it never becomes 
as robust as its fellows, it may have a 
tremendous influence. Because a child 
is a weakling, should it be put out of the 
way? Such a principle is monstrous. 
Look over the long line of the great 
men of the world, those who have 
changed history and made history, 
those who have helped the race 
upward, poets, painters, statesmen, 

54 



DANGERS 

scientists, leaders of thought in every 
department, and you will find that 
many of them have been phys- 
ically weak. No, the theory of the an- 
cients that the good of the state de- 
manded the elimination of the physi- 
cally weak was, perhaps, unwise. What 
we should do is to strengthen the weak, 
cultivate them as we cultivate plants, 
build them up, make them the very best 
they are capable of becoming. 

THE MENTALLY DEFECTIVE 

BUT with those who are mentally defec- 
tive ah, here is the hardest question of 
all! what shall be done with them? 
Apparently fatally deficient, can they 
ever be other than a burden? In the 
case of plants in which all tendencies are 

55 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

absolutely vicious there is only one 
course they must be destroyed. In 
the case of human beings in whom the 
light of reason does not burn, those 
who, apparently, can never be other 
than a burden, shall they be eliminated 
from the race? Go to the mother of an 
imbecile child and get your answer. 
No; here the analogy must cease. I 
shall not say that in the ideal state gen- 
eral citizenship would not gain by the 
absence of such classes, but where is the 
man who would deal with such Spartan 
rigor with the race? Besides all this, 
in the light of the great progress now 
being made in medical and surgical 
skill, who shall say what now appar- 
ently impossible cures may not be ef- 
fected? 

But it is as clear as sunlight that here, 

56 



DANGERS 

as in the case of plants, constant culti- 
vation and selection will do away with 
all this, so that in the grander race of 
the future these defectives will have be- 
come permanently eliminated from the 
race heredity. For these helpless un- 
fortunates, as with those who are merely 
unfortunate from environment, I 
should enlist the best and broadest state 
aid. 



57 



VI 

MARRIAGE OF THE PHYSICALLY UNFIT 

IT would, if possible, be best abso- 
lutely to prohibit in every State in 
the Union the marriage of the physi- 
cally, mentally and morally unfit. If we 
take a plant which we recognize as poi- 
sonous and cross it with another which is 
not poisonous and thus make the whole- 
some plant evil, so that it menaces all 
who come in contact with it, this is crim- 
inal enough. But suppose we blend to- 
gether two poisonous plants and make 
a third even more virulent, a vegetable 
degenerate, and set their evil descend- 
ants adrift to multiply over the earth, 

58 



MARRIAGE OF PHYSICALLY UNFIT 

are we not distinct foes to the race? 
What, then, shall we say of two people 
of absolutely defined physical impair- 
ment who are allowed to marry and 
rear children? It is a crime against the 
state and every individual in the state. 
And if these physically degenerate are 
also morally degenerate, the crime be- 
comes all the more appalling. 

COUSINS 

WHILE it seems clear now in the light 
of recent studies that the children of 
first cousins who have been reared under 
different environmental influences and 
who have remained separate from birth 
until married are not likely to be im- 
paired either mentally, morally or phys- 
ically, though the second generation 
59 



will be more than likely to show retro- 
gression, yet first cousin marriages 
when they have been reared under simi- 
lar environment should, no doubt, be 
prohibited. The history of some of the 
royal families of Europe, where inter- 
marrying, with its fatal results, has so 
long prevailed, should be sufficient 
though in these cases other baneful in- 
fluences have no doubt added their 
shadow to the picture. 

TEN GENERATIONS 

BUT let us take a still closer view of the 
subject. Suppose it were possible to 
select say, a dozen normal families, the 
result of some one of the many blend- 
ings of these native and foreign stocks, 
and let them live by themselves, so far 
60 



TEN GENERATIONS 

as the application of the principles I 
have been speaking of are concerned, 
though not by any means removed from 
the general influence? of the state. Let 
them have, if you will, ideal conditions 
for working out these principles, and 
let them be solemnly bound to the de- 
velopment of these principles what 
can be done? 

In plant cultivation, under normal 
conditions, from six to ten generations 
are generally sufficient to fix the de- 
scendants of the parent plants in their 
new ways. Sufficient time in all cases 
must elapse so that the descendants will 
not revert to some former condition of 
inefficiency. When once stability is se- 
cured, usually, as indicated, in from six 
to ten generations, the plant may then 
be counted upon to go forward in its 
61 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

new life as though the old lives of its 
ancestors had never been. This, among 
plants, will be by the end of from five 
to ten generations, varying according 
to the plant's character its pliability 
or stubbornness. I do not say that lack 
of care and nourishment thereafter will 
not have a demoralizing influence, for 
no power can prevent a plant from be- 
coming again part wild if left to itself 
through many generations, but even 
here it will probably become wild along 
the lines of its new life, not by any 
means necessarily along ancestral lines. 
If, then, we could have these twelve 
families under ideal conditions where 
these principles could be carried out un- 
swervingly, we could accomplish more 
for the race in ten generations than can 
now be accomplished in a hundred thou- 



TEN GENERATIONS 

sand years. Ten generations of human 
life should be ample to fix any desired 
attribute. This is absolutely clear. 
There is neither theory nor speculation. 
Given the fact that the most sensitive 
material in all the world upon which to 
work is the nature of a little child, given 
ideal conditions under which to work 
upon this nature, and the end desired 
will as certainly come as it comes in the 
cultivation of the plant. There will be 
this difference, however, that it will be 
immeasurably easier to produce and fix 
any desired traits in the child than in 
the plant, though, of course, a plant 
may be said to be a harp with a few 
strings as compared with a child. 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 



THE PERSONAL ELEMENT 

BUT some one says, You fail to take 
into account the personal element, the 
sovereign will of the human being, its 
power of determining for itself. 

By no means; I give full weight to 
this. But the most stubborn and wilful 
nature in the world is not that of a 
child. I have dealt with millions of 
plants, have worked with them for 
many years, have studied them with the 
deepest interest from all sides of their 
lives. The most stubborn living thing 
in this world, the most difficult to 
swerve, is a plant once fixed in certain 
habits habits which have been intensi- 
fied and have been growing stronger 
and stronger upon it by repetition 

64 



PERSONAL ELEMENT 

through thousands and thousands of 
years. Remember that this plant has 
preserved its individuality all through 
the ages ; perhaps it is one which can be 
traced backward through eons of time 
in the very rocks themselves, never hav- 
ing varied to any great extent in all 
these vast periods. Do you suppose, 
after all these ages of repetition, the 
plant does not become possessed of a 
will, if you so choose to call it, of unpar- 
alleled tenacity? Indeed, there are 
plants, like certain of the palms, so per- 
sistent that no human power has yet 
been able to change them. The human 
will is a weak thing beside the will of a 
plant. But see how this whole plant's 
lifelong stubbornness is broken simply 
by blending a new life with it, making, 
by crossing, a complete and powerful 

5 65 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

change in its life. Then when the break 
comes, fix it by these generations of pa- 
tient supervision and selection, and the 
new plant sets out upon its new way 
never again to return to the old, its 
tenacious will broken and changed at 
last. 

When it comes to so sensitive and pli- 
able a thing as the nature of a child, the 
problem becomes vastly easier. 



66 



VII 

HEREDITY PREDESTINATION- 
TRAINING 

THERE is no such thing in the world, 
there never has been such a thing, 
as a predestined child predestined for 
heaven or hell. Men have taught such 
things in the past, there may be now 
those who account for certain manifes- 
tations on this belief, just as there may 
be those who in the presence of some 
hopelessly vicious man hold to the view, 
whether they express it or not, of total 
depravity. But even total depravity 
never existed in a human being, never 
can exist in one any more than it can ex- 
67 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

ist in a plant. Heredity means much, 
but what is heredity? Not some hide- 
ous ancestral specter forever crossing 
the path of a human being. Heredity 
is simply the sum of all the effects of all 
the environments of all past genera- 
tions on the responsive, ever-moving 
life forces. There is no doubt that if a 
child with a vicious temper be placed in 
an environment of peace and quiet the 
temper will change. Put a boy born of 
gentle white parents among Indians 
and he will grow up like an Indian. Let 
the child born of criminal parents have 
a setting of morality, integrity, and 
love, and the chances are that he will 
not grow into a criminal, but into an 
upright man. I do not say, of course, 
that heredity will not sometimes assert 
itself. When the criminal instinct 
68 



HEREDITY 

crops out in a person, it might appear 
as if environment were leveled to the 
ground; but in succeeding generations 
the effect of constant higher environ- 
ment will not fail to become fixed. 

Apply to the descendants of these 
twelve families throughout three hun- 
dred years the principles I have set 
forth, and the reformation and regener- 
ation of the world, their particular 
world, will have been effected. Apply 
these principles now, to-day, not wait- 
ing for the end of these three hundred 
years, not waiting, indeed, for any mil- 
lennium to come, but make the millen- 
nium, and see what splendid results will 
follow. Not the ample results of the 
larger period, to be sure, for with the 
human life, as with the plant life, it re- 
quires these several generations to fix 
69 



TRAINING QF THE HUMAN PLANT 

new characteristics or to intensify old 
ones. But narrow it still more, apply 
these principles to a single family, in- 
deed, still closer, to a single child, your 
child it may be, and see what the re- 
sults will be. 

But remember that just as there 
must be in plant cultivation great pa- 
tience, unswerving devotion to the 
truth, the highest motive, absolute hon- 
esty, unchanging love, so must it be in 
the cultivation of a child. If it be 
worth while to spend ten years upon the 
ennoblement of a plant, be it fruit, tree, 
or flower, is it not worth while to spend 
ten years upon a child in this precious 
formative period, fitting it for the place 
it is to occupy in the world? Is not a 
child's life vastly more precious than the 
life of a plant? Under the old order of 
70 



TRAINING 

things plants kept on in their course 
largely uninfluenced in any new direc- 
tion. The plant-breeder changes their 
lives to make them better than they ever 
were before. Here in America, in the 
midst of this vast crossing of species, we 
have an unparalleled opportunity to 
work upon these sensitive human na- 
tures. We may surround them with 
right influences. We may steady them 
in right ways of living. We may bring 
to bear upon them, just as we do upon 
plants, the influence of light and air, of 
sunshine and abundant, well-balanced 
food. We may give them music and 
laughter. We may teach them as we 
teach the plants to be sturdy and self- 
reliant. We may be honest with them, 
as we are obliged to be honest with 
plants. We may break up this cruel 
71 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

educational articulation which connects 
the child in the kindergarten with the 
graduate of the university while there 
goes on from year to year an unin- 
terrupted system of cramming, an 
uninterrupted mental strain upon the 
child, until the integrity of its nervous 
system may be destroyed and its life 
impaired. 

I may only refer to that mysterious 
prenatal period, and say that even here 
we should begin our work, throwing 
around the mothers of the race every 
possible loving, helpful, and ennobling 
influence ; for in the doubly sacred time 
before the birth of a child lies, far more 
than we can possibly know, the hope of 
the future of this ideal race which is 
coming upon this earth if we and our 
descendants will it so to be. 
72 



TRAINING 

Man has by no means reached the ul- 
timate. The fittest has not yet arrived. 
In the process of elimination the weaker 
must fail, but the battle has changed its 
base from brute force to mental integ- 
rity. We now have what are popularly 
known as five senses, but there are men 
of strong minds whose reasoning has 
rarely been at fault and who are coldly 
scientific in their methods, who attest to 
the possibility of yet developing a sixth 
sense. Who is he who can say man will 
not develop new senses as evolution ad- 
vances? Psychology is now studied in 
most of the higher institutions of learn- 
ing throughout the country, and that 
study will lead to a greater knowledge 
of these subjects. The man of the fu- 
ture ages will prove a somewhat differ- 
ent order of being from that of the pres- 
73 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 
ent. He may look upon us as we to- 
day look upon our ancestors. 

Statistics show many things to make 
us pause, but, after all, the only right 
and proper point of view is that of the 
optimist. The time will come when in- 
sanity will be reduced, suicides and 
murders will be greatly diminished, and 
man will become a being of fewer men- 
tal troubles and bodily ills. Whenever 
you have a nation in which there is no 
variation, there is comparatively little 
insanity or crime, or exalted morality 
or genius. Here in America, where the 
variation is greatest, statistics show a 
greater percentage of all these varia- 
tions. 

As time goes on in its endless and 
ceaseless course, environment must 
crystallize the American nation; its 
74 



TRAINING 

varying elements will become unified, 
and the weeding-out process will, by the 
means indicated in this paper, by selec- 
tion and environmental influences, leave 
the finest human product ever known. 
The transcendent qualities which are 
placed in plants will have their analo- 
gies in the noble composite, the Ameri- 
can of the future. 



VIII 

GROWTH 

GROWTH is a vital process an evo- 
lution a marshaling of vagrant 
unorganized forces into definite forms 
of beauty, harmony and utility. Growth 
in some form is about all that we ever 
take any interest in; it expresses about 
everything of value to us. Growth in 
its more simple or most marvelously 
complicated forms is the architect of 
beauty, the inspiration of poetry, the 
builder and sustainer of life, for life it- 
self is only growth, an ever-changing 
movement toward some object or ideal. 
Wherever life is found, there, also, is 
76 



GROWTH 

growth in some direction. The end of 
growth is the beginning of decay. 

Growth within, is health, content and 
happiness, and growing things without 
stimulate and enhance growth within. 
Whose pulses are not hastened, and who 
is not filled with joy when in Earth's 
long circling swing around our great 
dynamo the Sun, the point is reached 
where chilling, blistering frosts are ex- 
changed for warmth and growth ! When 
the flowers and grasses on the warm 
hillsides gleefully hasten up through 
the soft wet soil, or later when ferns, 
meadow rues and trilliums thrilled with 
awakened life, crack through and push up 
the loose mellow earth in small mounds 
little volcanoes of growth; all these 
variously organized life forces are ex- 
pressing themselves each in its own 
77 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

specific way. Each so-called species, 
each individual has something within 
itself which we call heredity a general 
tendency to reproduce itself in form 
and habits somewhat definitely after its 
own kind. 



NEW SPECIES 

MOST of the ancient and even a large 
part of modern students of plant and 
animal life have held that their so-called 
true species never varied to any great 
extent, at least never varied from the 
standard type sufficiently to form what 
could scientifically be called a new spe- 
cies. Under this view the word hered- 
ity has had a very indefinite meaning 
when used in conjunction with environ- 
ment; and a never-ending uncertainty 
78 



GROWTH 

has always been apparent as to their rel- 
ative power in molding individual life. 

HEREDITY AND ENVIRONMENT 

WHEN the great rivers of life, which we 
now see, commenced on this planet they 
did not at once leap into existence with 
all their present complicated combina- 
tions of forces and motions; all were 
very insignificant; their slender courses, 
though simple, were devious and uncer- 
tain, at first lacking all the wonderfully 
varied but slowly acquired adaptations 
to environment that have come with the 
ages; all had many obstacles to over- 
come, many things to learn; and for 
long ages were able to respond only to 
the more powerful or long-continued 
action of external forces. Many of 
79 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

these frail life streams in the long 
race down the ages were snuffed out by 
unfavorable surroundings, unfavorable 
heredity, or the combination and inter- 
action of both; others more successful 
have lived to be our contemporaries and 
to-day the process is still unchanged. 

If a race has not acquired and stored 
among its hereditary tendencies suffi- 
cient perseverance and adaptability to 
meet all the changes to which it must 
always be subjected by its ever-chang- 
ing environment, it will be left behind 
and finally destroyed, outstripped by 
races better equipped for the fray. 



80 



IX 

ENVIRONMENT THE ARCHITECT OF 
HEREDITY 

HEREDITY is not the dark specter 
which some people have thought 
merciless and unchangeable, the em- 
bodiment of Fate itself. This dark, 
pessimistic belief which tinges even the 
literature of to-day comes, no doubt, 
from the general lack of knowledge of 
the laws governing the interaction of 
these two ever-present forces of hered- 
ity and environment wherever there is 
life. 

My own studies have led me to be as- 
sured that heredity is only the sum of 

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TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

all past environment, in other words en- 
vironment is the architect of heredity; 
and I am assured of another fact: ac- 
quired characters are transmitted and 
even further that all characters which 
are transmitted have been acquired, 
not necessarily at once in a dy- 
namic or visible form, but as an increas- 
ing latent force ready to appear as a 
tangible character when by long-contin- 
ued natural or artificial repetition any 
specific tendency has become inherent, 
inbred, or "fixed," as we call it. 

We may compare this sum of the life 
forces, which we call heredity, to the 
character of a sensitive plate in the cam- 
era. Outside pictures impress them- 
selves more or less distinctly on the sen- 
sitive plate according to their position, 
intensity, and the number of times the 

82 



ENVIRONMENT 

plate has been exposed to the objects 
(environments) in the same relative po- 
sition; all impressions are recorded. 
Old ones fade from immediate con- 
sciousness, but each has written a per- 
manent record. Stored within heredity 
are all joys, sorrows, loves, hates, music, 
art, temples, palaces, pyramids, hovels, 
kings, queens, paupers, bards, proph- 
ets and philosophers, oceans, caves, 
volcanoes, floods, earthquakes, wars, tri- 
umphs, defeats, reverence, courage, wis- 
dom, virtue, love and beauty, time, 
space, and all the mysteries of the uni- 
verse. The appropriate environments 
will bring out and intensify all these 
general human hereditary experiences 
and quicken them again into life and 
action, thus modifying for good or evil 
character heredity destiny. 
83 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 



REPETITION 

REPETITION is the best means of im- 
pressing any one point on the human 
understanding; it is also the means 
which we employ to train animals to do 
as we wish, and by just the same pro- 
cess we impress plant life. By repeti- 
tion we fix any tendency, and the more 
times any unusual environment is re- 
peated the more indelibly will the re- 
sultant tendencies be fixed in plant, ani- 
mal, or man, until, if repeated often 
enough in any certain direction, the 
habits become so fixed and inherent in 
heredity that it will require many repe- 
titions of an opposite nature to efface 
them. 



ENVIRONMENT 
APPLICATION TO CHILD LIFE 

WHAT possibilities this view opens up 
in the culture and development of the 
most sensitive and most precious of all 
lives which ever come under our care 
and culture child life! 

Can we hope for normal, healthy, 
happy children if they are constantly in 
ugly environment? Are we not rea- 
sonably sure that these conditions will 
almost swamp a well-balanced normal 
heredity and utterly overthrow and de- 
stroy a weak though otherwise good 
one? 

We are learning that child life is far 
more sensitive to impressions of any 
kind than we had ever before realized, 
and it is certain that this wonderful sen- 
sitiveness and ready adaptability has 

7 85 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

not as yet by any means been put to its 
best possible use in child culture either 
in the home or the school and though 
all must admire our great educational 
system, yet no well-informed person 
need be told that it is not perfect. 



86 



X 

CHARACTER 

IT ir TE are a garrulous people and too 
V V often forget, or do not know, 
that the heart as well as the head should 
receive its full share of culture. Much 
of our education has been that of the 
parrot; children's minds are too often 
crowded with rules and words. Edu- 
cation of the intellect has its place, but 
is injurious, unnatural, and unbalanced 
unless in addition to cultivating the 
memory and reason we educate the 
heart also in the truest sense. A well- 
balanced character should always be 
the object and aim of all education. 
87 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

A perfect system of education can 
never be attained because education 
is preparing one for the environment 
expected, and conditions change with 
time and place. There is too much 
striving to be consistent rather than 
trying to be right. We must learn 
that what we call character is heredity 
and environment in combination, and 
heredity being only stored environment 
our duty and our privilege is to make 
the stored environment of the best 
quality ; in this way character is not only 
improved in the individual but the de- 
sired qualities are added to heredity to 
have their influence in guiding the 
slightly but surely changed heredities of 
succeeding generations. 



CHARACTER 



SUCCESS 

COLD mathematical intellect unaccom- 
panied by a heart for the philosophic, 
idealistic, and poetic side of nature 
is like a locomotive well made but of 
no practical value without fire and 
steam; a good knowledge of language, 
history, geography, mathematics, chem- 
istry, botany, astronomy, geology, etc., 
is of some importance, but far more so 
is the knowledge that all true success in 
life depends on integrity; that health, 
peace, happiness, and content, all come 
with heartily accepting and daily living 
by the "Golden Rule"; that dollars, 
though of great importance and value, 
do not necessarily make one wealthy; 
that a loving devotion to truth is a nor- 
89 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

mal indication of physical and mental 
health; that hypocrisy and deceit are 
only forms of debility, mental imbecil- 
ity and bodily disease, and that the 
knowledge and ability to perform use- 
ful, honest labor of any kind is of infin- 
itely more importance and value than 
all the so-called "culture" of the schools, 
which too often turn out nervous pedan- 
tic victims of unbalanced education with 
plenty of words but with no intuitive 
ability to grasp, digest, assimilate and 
make use of the environment which they 
are compelled each day to meet and to 
conquer or be conquered. 

Any form of education which leaves 
one less able to meet every-day emer- 
gencies and occurrences is unbalanced 
and vicious, and will lead any people 
to destruction. 

90 



CHARACTER 

Every child should have mud pies, 
grasshoppers, water-bugs, tadpoles, 
frogs, mud-turtles, elderberries, wild 
strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to 
climb, brooks to wade in, water-lilies, 
woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, var- 
ious animals to pet, hay-fields, pine- 
cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, 
huckleberries and hornets; and any 
child who has been deprived of these has 
been deprived of the best part of his ed- 
ucation. 

By being well acquainted with all 
these they come into most intimate har- 
mony with nature, whose lessons are, of 
course, natural and wholesome. 

A fragrant beehive or a plump, 

healthy hornet's nest in good running 

order often become object lessons of 

some importance. The inhabitants can 

91 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

give the child pointed lessons in punc- 
tuation as well as caution and some of 
the limitations as well as the grand pos- 
sibilities of life ; and by even a brief ex- 
perience with a good patch of healthy 
nettles, the same lesson will be still fur- 
ther impressed upon them. And thus 
by each new experience with homely 
natural objects the child learns self-re- 
spect and also to respect the objects and 
forces which must be met. 



XI 

FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES 

<TT"NOWLEDGE is Power," but it re- 
XV quires to be combined with wis- 
dom to become useful. The funda- 
mental principles of education should 
be the subject of earnest scientific inves- 
tigation, but this investigation should 
be broad, including not only the theat- 
rical, wordy, memorizing, compiling 
methods, but should also include all the 
causes which tend to produce men and 
women with sane well-balanced char- 
acters. 

We must learn that any person who 
will not accept what he knows to be 
93 



truth, for the very love of truth alone, 
is very definitely undermining his men- 
tal integrity. It will be observed that 
the mind of such a person gradually 
stops growing, for, being constantly 
hedged in and cropped here and there, 
it soon learns to respect artificial fences 
more than freedom for growth. You 
have not been a very close observer of 
such men if you have not seen them 
shrivel, become commonplace, mean, 
without influence, without friends and 
the enthusiasm of youth and growth, 
like a tree covered with fungus, the fo- 
liage diseased, and the life gone out of 
the heart with dry rot and indelibly 
marked for destruction dead, but not 
yet handed over to the undertaker. 

The man or the woman who moves the 
earth, who is master rather than the 
94 



FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES 

victim of fate, has strong feelings well 
in hand a vigilant engineer at the 
throttle. 

Education which makes us lazier and 
more helpless is of no use. Leaders use 
the power within ; it should give the best 
organized thought and experience of 
men through all the ages of the past. 
By it we should learn that it is not nec- 
essary to be selfish in order to succeed. 
If you happen to get a new idea don't 
build a barbed wire fence around it and 
label it yours. By giving your best 
thoughts freely others will come to you 
so freely that you will soon never think 
of fencing them in. Thoughts refuse to 
climb barbed wire fences to reach any- 
body. 

By placing ourselves in harmony and 
cooperation with the main high poten- 
95 



TRAINING OF THE HUMAN PLANT 

tial line of human progress and welfare 
we receive the benefit of strong mag- 
netic induction currents. But by plac- 
ing our life energies at right angles to 
it we soon find ourselves on a low-feed 
induction current, thus losing the help 
and support which should be ours. 

Straightforward honesty always pays 
better dividends than zigzag policy. 
It gives one individuality, self-respect, 
and power to take the initiative, sav- 
ing all the trouble of constant tacking 
to catch the popular breeze. Each hu- 
man being is like a steamship, endowed 
with a tremendous power. The fires of 
life develop a pressure of steam which, 
well disciplined, leads to happiness for 
ourselves and others; or it may lead 
only to pain and destruction. 

To guide these energies is the work 
96 



FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES 

of true education. Education of rules 
and words only for polish and public 
opinion is of the past. The education 
of the present and future is to guide 
these energies through wind and wave 
straight to the port desired. Educa- 
tion gives no one any new force. It 
can only discipline nature's energies to 
develop in natural and useful directions 
so that the voyage of life may be a use- 
ful and happy one so that life may not 
be blasted or completely cut off before 
thought and experience have ripened 
into useful fruit. 

When the love of truth for truth's 
sake this poetic idealism, this intui- 
tive perception, this growth from 
within has been awakened and culti- 
vated, thoughts live and are transmitted 
into endless forms of beauty and utility; 
97 



TRAINING PF THE HUMAN PLANT 

but to receive this new growth we must 
cultivate a sturdy self-respect, we must 
break away from the mere petrified 
word-pictures of others and cultivate 
the "still small voice" within by which 
we become strong in individual thought 
and quick in action, not cropped, 
hedged and distorted by outward, triv- 
ial forms, fads and fancies. Every 
great man or woman is at heart a poet, 
and all must listen long to the harmonies 
of Nature before they can make transla- 
tions from her infinite resources through 
their own ideals into creations of beauty 
in words, forms, colors, or sounds. 
Mathematical details are invaluable, the 
compilation method is beyond re- 
proach; intellectually we may know 
many things, but they will never be of 
any great value toward a normal 
98 



FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES 

growth unless there is an inward awak- 
ening, an intuitive grasp, an impelling 
personal force which digests, assimilates 
and individualizes. This intuitive con- 
sciousness, combined with extensive 
practical knowledge and "horse sense," 
has always been the motive power of all 
those who have for all time left the hu- 
man race rich with legacies of useful 
thought, with ripening harvests of free- 
dom and with ever-increasing stores of 
wisdom and happiness. We are now 
standing upon the threshold of new 
methods and new discoveries which shall 
give us imperial dominion. 



99 



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